Kutztown Middle Schooler writes: The Chance of a Lifetime; meeting Bob Dorough and visiting Abbeyville Road Recording Studio

Submitted photos by KAMS Jazz Band Nikolette Nolte with Bob Dorough.
Submitted photos by KAMS Jazz Band Abbeyville Recording Studio.

November was full of excitement and fun for my homeroom, the Kutztown Area Middle School Jazz Band. We had a legendary musical icon visit our school for an assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Bob Dorough, also known as the writer of Schoolhouse Rock, visited and entertained us. We learned many things from the 89-year-old rock star. On Wednesday, Nov. 21, we traveled to a recording studio in Lancaster County. We visited Abbeyville Road Recording Studio. My jazz band and I learned all about the recording process. These two days were definitely an experience I will remember and cherish for a lifetime.

I woke up on Tuesday excited for the upcoming two days. Today, I would be able to play with the one and only Bob Dorough. I knew my homeroom was excited and very prepared. We were going to rock this assembly! At 10:30 a.m. we were dismissed from class to have a rehearsal with Bob Dorough. We shared our music with him, and he instantly loved it! I could definitely see the excitement in his facial expressions!

After lunch, my jazz band and I suited up in our jazz band uniforms and started playing “Mucho Macho” while our classmates were entering the Middle School Commons for the assembly with Bob Dorough. All of my peers seemed excited to listen to this major icon. We finished off our introduction with “Comin’ Home Baby,” a song written by Bob Dorough. He ran on the stage and started singing the tune while we were playing. It was definitely a moment I will never forget. I even saw a few of my peers dancing! The assembly lasted 90 minutes. The KAMS Jazz Band had an adventure with a world musical idol.

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The next morning at 7:30 a.m., we were on the highway heading towards Lancaster! My jazz band and I were going to Abbeyville Road Recording Studio. Our day was going to be filled with some new excitement and fun! We learned many things about microphones and how they were set up in a recording studio. We then started to record our first song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” My friend Jillian, a tenor saxophone player, had a solo in this tune. Luckily, I did too! The first song went really well! We played our other five tunes so well that it was already time for lunch!

During lunch, players with solos got to enter the Isolation Room. This small room is specifically for a soloist. You play the solo while hearing the song through headphones. I watched and listened to Chris, Asher, and Cassandra play the trumpet, trombone, and mellophone respectively and they were absolutely amazing! Unfortunately, I couldn’t go in the isolation room. I had another solo to play, but my instrument didn’t fit into the room. I play the vibraphone, also known as the vibes.

We all finished lunch in no time, and next thing you know, I was playing my solo in “Mucho Macho!” The experience I felt, wearing those headphones and playing the song, is something that I will remember. I would especially like to thank Abbeyville Road Recording Studio for allowing my jazz band and myself to experience something that no other middle school musician usually gets to experience.

Finally, I would personally like to thank Mr. [Carl] Zeplin for giving us these amazing opportunities as a middle school jazz band musician. All of us learned a lot from Bob Dorough before and during the school assembly. Visiting a recording studio and actually recording six songs will be a memory to last a life time. We grew as musicians individually and as a group through these two musical experiences.

Nikolette Nolte is a Kutztown eighth grader and member of Kutztown Area Middle School Jazz Band.

For more information about Abbeyville Road Recording Studio, Lancaster, call James Easton at 717-394-4142 or email him at AbbeyvilleRoad@verizon.net, or Kenny Blekicki, at 610-781-9073 or email him at AltoSax1@comcast.net.